High Quality Feet Pre-Taping

August 1, 2013 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footcare 

Over my years of taping feet, I have seen techniques improve to where pre-taping is more helpful then ever before.

Often times, in the middle of a race, one cannot take the time necessary to do a high-quality tape job. Things may be rushed. The runner may be in a huge hurry to make a cut-off. The feet and skin may be wet. Conditions may be less than ideal – lightening, set-up, workable access/angle to the feet, supplies, etc.

Bad Tape Job

Bad Tape Job

However, before a race, a hike, or run, there is more time to do a high quality pre-tape job. It’s also the time to practice your skills and learn how to do a really good tape job. The first photo here shows a pretty poor tape job on toes. In this photo, the tape will probably peel off from sock changes and general wear. If any one of the pieces comes off, the now untapped toe will be subject to the roughness of the tape on the neighboring toe. It looks like Leukotape, which sticks well, but does not conform to the curves of toes and other places on the foot. It is possible to do a great tape job on toes with Leukotape – but it take time and practice. I must admit I like Leukotape for certain conditions and tape jobs.

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles

 

A good, high-quality pre-tape job should hold up well, for several days if necessary, and cared for. In this next photo, you can see the right foot of Bogie Dumitrescu after finishing a solo, self-supported crossing of Death Valley followed by up and down to Mt Whitney. You can see how the tape has held for 157 miles in the extremes of Death Valley. It’s hot on the valley floor, but there are two long uphill’s climbs followed by long downhill’s over two passes. An 11-mile trail hike follows that up to and another 11 back down Whitney. The tape job held for 157 miles! In fact it looks perfect.

The tape is Kenesio-Tex on the heels, balls of the feet and big toes. Hypafix tape is used in a figure eight cut to anchor the tape at the forward edge of the ball of the foot, between the toes, and anchored again on top of the foot. This prevents the forward edge of the tape from rolling.

Bogie's feet after 157 miles!

Bogie’s feet after 157 miles!

The next photo shows Bogie’s two feet after the tape was removed. No blisters. One of the reasons the tape held is that Bogie managed his feet well. He kept them as dry as possible. This is important in Death Valley where often Badwater runners get their feet wet when they are sprayed or doused with water in an effort to cool them.

Bogie was fortunate to have his feet taped by Denise Jones, the Badwater Blister Queen. Denise is a master at taping feet and does a precision tape job. This is not a 30-minute tape job. It takes as long as it takes to do it right. Denise and I tape almost identically. If we apply a piece of tape and it looks or feels wrong, we remove it and retape. Our aim is to get the runners on the course and able to finish with good feet.

Danny's Feet Taped Before Badwater

Danny’s Feet Taped Before Badwater

The point of this blog post is to show a good tape job that can hold up over multiple days. The final photo shows Danny Westergaard’s feet that Denise taped for Badwater three weeks ago. Danny’s feet are taped perfectly. You can see the small strip of Hypafix that Denise wrapped around Danny’s big toes to further secure the tape edges.

I commend Bogie and Danny for their runs. Bogie completed his solo self-supported Badwater crossing the week before the official Badwater ultramarathon. Danny completed his 7th Badwater, went to the summit of Whitney and then reversed direction and went back to the start for his 7th Badwater Double.

And I commend Denise Jones for her care of runner’s feet.  She’s a class act. Thanks Denise.

Kinesio, Leukotape and Hypafix tapes, as well as Compound Tincture of Benzoin and other foot care supplies are available at Zombierunner.com.

Disclosure: When you purchase through this link, I make an affiliate small amount of each sale.

My Foot Massage

July 1, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Have you ever had a foot massage?

I had never had one until late in June. A while back I bought a Groupon coupon for a “reflexology” foot massage.

Some of you are asking, what’s refexology? Here’s what Wikipedia says, Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body. A 2009 systematic review of randomised controlled trials concludes that, “The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.”

I had heard of reflexology and read a bit about it. So I decided to spend a few bucks and get one for half off. So what did I find?

First, I’ll tell you that I did trim and file my toenails before going. It made sense. Why would anyone go for a foot massage with unclipped toenails?

Second, I made sure my feet were clean. Again, to me that’s just common sense.

Thirdly, here’s what I experienced. I was asked to complete a multi-page questionnaire that focused on my health. Because this was sold as a reflexology session, I expected that. The reflexologist had me remove my shoes and socks and sit in a recliner chair. It started with a warm towel wash of each foot. Then massage oil was applied to my left foot, after which she wrapped it in Saran Wrap – I assume to keep the oil from drying out. Oil was applied to my right foot can she started the massage.

Not ever having a foot massage, I had nothing to compare it to.

My Foot Massage

My Foot Massage

Honestly, it was good. She used her fingers to work the tissue on the top, sides and bottom of my feet. I could feel her working between the metatarsals, between the joints and toes, and the fascia at my heel. It was easy to relax. She worked a couple of stubborn hard areas and complemented me on the condition of my feet. Once she was done with the right foot, she moved to the left.

My overall impressions were good. There was little said about reflexology. That may have been because I did not identify any health issues she could have focused on. But that’s okay.

The massage was great. My feet felt wonderful. I can see the value in getting regular foot massages if I was running regularly. The massage would help my feet in the same way that a leg would help the legs.

If you have tight muscles in your feet, cramping, or stress your feet with long runs with little recovery time between, a regular foot massage could help condition them to be as healthy as possible.

Learning from Taped Feet at Barkley

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Health 

When Geoff Baker sent me a few photos of feet, which he took at this year’s Barkley, I found two jewels. The composition of Brett Maune’s feet in the two photos after winning the race is great.

Brett Maune's Feet after winning Barkley

Brett Maune's Feet after winning Barkley

The first photo shows Brett removing tape from his feet. The condition of his feet and legs is rough. Note the light skin on the heel where he’s removing tape. Another light strip of skin is shown on the bottom of the big toe. A strip of tape is still evident on the inside of the right foot.

Winning Feet

Winning Feet

The second photo is a great example that Brett knows his feet well. All the light spots on the bottom and sides of the feet are places where he applied Leukotape. He knew where his feet were vulnerable and he applied just enough tape to protect the skin and tissue in those areas. From all appearances, it worked.

Years ago, a good friend and renown ultrarunner, Dick Collins, told me to never put anything on or around your feet that was un-necessary. His theory, that I support, is that anything that adds bulk can be bad.

That’s why I frown on using moleskin, gauze and soft foam with cutouts over blisters. They all add bulk. When the runner takes off after the patching, his feet feel tight in his shoes because of the added “stuff” in the shoe. This often adds even more pressure on the blistered area, making it more uncomfortable that before. This can easily change the runners gait and this affect continues up the leg to the knee, the hip and the spine.

I commend Brett for winning the Barkley and for knowing how to care for his feet. We can learn from Brett. In short, pre-tape where you need it.

To view a photo montage of images from Barkley, check out The Barkley: Bad Things Happen.

Here is Geoff’s contact information:  Geoffrey Baker Photography.

 

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